An Open Letter to HCL…

This is an open letter from the team at Zobrist Consulting Group to HCL. HCL has been quiet and the Websphere Commerce users would like to hear from the company. Here’s our recommendations on how to take WCS to the next level.

Dear HCL,
I have to admit that this holiday season has been marked by a lot of uncertainties, and even more than I could have imagined, because I was personally affected. Thankfully, it was not the shooting in Thousand Oaks nor the Woolsey fires that almost made us evacuate out of our home in Westlake Village, California. I am thankful that my family is safe and we still have a roof on our heads.

It was the anxiety caused by the separation of the word “IBM” from “WebSphere Commerce” which we have known and loved for the past 18 years.

There has been a lot of talk, discussions, meetings, conference calls around this topic as customers, partners and IBMers try to wrap their heads around this separation, and figure out what this means for their livelihood and careers. And amidst this whirlwind, you, HCL have been pretty quiet. So, here is my advice to you on how to show leadership and instill confidence in this situation, 5 Ways to Take WebSphere Commerce to the Next Level.

#1 – Engage with Customers
Reach out to your WebSphere Commerce customers to demonstrate empathy and good will. Perhaps this is in the plans, but we have not heard of any communications to date. Even though the transaction will not be finalized until April 2019, there is a wonderful opportunity now to reach out to those who will be affected by this transaction, as it will be too late by the time it closes. Act now while this precious window of time is open. It may be the difference in your customers’ outlook: open to change vs. closed and moving on. Even if you don’t have all the answers, it’s ok to be transparent and acknowledge that you are working on it.

#2 – Show Leadership

The sale of WCS has definitely cast a shadow of doubt and negativity. It’s human nature to detest uncertainty. It’s time to change it by rallying the troops around HCL to create a great, positive impact. You can do this gracefully and with humility by developing thoughtful content behind the acquisition, exciting plans for the future of ecommerce. Above all, you need to show the good will of reaching out to customers, partners, and media.

#3 – Rally Behind the Business Partners

For the past 18 years, WebSphere Commerce has developed a number of very faithful partners. While it’s a complex product, WCS has been solid, scalable and secure. It’s an enterprise-level product with a success rate that is directly correlated to the skills of the System Integrators. While IBMers come and go, these System Integrators have been in these accounts for a long time, and are trusted advisors for a lot of WCS customers. HCL, reach out to the IBM Business Partners and invite us to connect directly. It’s a win-win partnership that benefits both you and the partners. This could be done in a variety of ways: create user/business partner groups: in-person meetings, and online discussions, host events for round table discussions and think-tank ideas for new ways of innovating, just to name a few.

#4 – Ask for Help
Humility is a precursor of leadership. In order to lead WebSphere Commerce back to the road of greatness, you must demonstrate humility and ask for help. You need to know what the strengths are, as well as the weaknesses of WebSphere Commerce. With Version 9, WCS is on the road to Headless Commerce with micro-services and the new architecture that allows for a more agile, scalable platform. All you need to do is ask the customers and the system integrators, and we will tell you how to make it better.

#5 – Take WebSphere Commerce to Great New Heights
WebSphere Commerce has powered a number of great American brands such as The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Staples, Home Depot and Land’s End. These sites can scale to handle peak holiday demands as well as being secure to protect shopper’s credit information due to the iron clad architecture of the application. A unique trait of WebSphere Commerce is the stability of the code which rarely breaks.

“Over the last 8 years that I have been on WCS, I can’t remember a single instance when our website was down… for more than a couple of hours” said Keith McCormick, President of the Bishop Company.”

With your acquisition, WebSphere Commerce will not only carry forward the reliability, scalability and security that has been built into its DNA, but it will also provide the flexibility of Headless Commerce micro-services to power commerce on all media and devices. It will provide a single code base to give customers a choice to stay on-premise, or deploy in the cloud, any cloud.

Now, customers have the freedom of selecting a favorite CMS (Content Management System), a personalization engine of their choice, and build a user experience that can truly bond them with their audience. WebSphere Commerce will continue to faithfully power their back-end securely and allow them to scale individually each component of their architecture; web server, search server, transaction server and customization server. In a nut shell, this spells freedom!

Continue to deliver WebSphere Commerce as a single platform for all of its customers with all the existing toolings to make existing customers feel safe in their investment, and take it to new heights on its journey to the clouds with Headless Commerce.

The acquisition of WebSphere Commerce struck a nerve with customers and system integrators alike. We implore you to step up, own WebSphere Commerce and reach out to all of us. Together, we can make WCS a great commerce engine that can continue to power beautiful user experiences. It’s a New Year and we all look forward to a New Beginning!

Explore the possibilities.

We’re here for you.